Jettes share encounters with a plane hijacker through “Traces”

Colette Pomerleau / May 19, 2019
Cover photo of “Traces”, courtesy of Jettes.

Jettes was a long-distance platonic love affair between musicians Laura Lee (of Gurr) and Melody Connor. It all began as a music-focused internet friendship, but things escalated when Connor packed his bags to make the move from Seattle to Berlin. “Traces” is their debut single from their forthcoming EP, promising grungy though dreamy garage pop and unconventional story lines featuring “encounters with a plane hijacker to tales of long-lost childhood romances”.

We chatted with the imaginative duo to find out more about this project and their addictive debut single.

SSG Music: Where does the band name come from?

Laura: The name is coming from Melody’s obsession with airplanes, actually. When we drove around Frankfurt (where we recorded the EP), Melody would constantly point to the sky and tell me which airplane model is flying over us.

SSG Music: How has the musical dynamic taken off?

Laura: After having exchanged ideas over the internet for a while, it felt great to finally be in the same room together. Melody is obviously a skilled guitar and bass player – I was really eager to play drums again. As a drummer, I like to play around with structure and arrangements a lot. I also love to sing harmonies, I think in the right spots, a harmony can really add that extra special sparkle to a song, which I hope we created on our EP.

SSG Music: Would love to hear more specifics behind the narratives you mentioned about these songs on the EP.

Laura: The lyrics to „Traces“ were inspired by the story of the Seattle Plane Hijacker. Melody showed me the ATC recordings on youtube which really inspired me to write a song about it. It’s really heartbreaking to hear the conversation between the hijacker and the flight controller: The hijacker comes across as this super relatable guy, so we kind of pictured his day in the song, how he is hurting and how he might only be longing for someone to tell him he „isn’t the last one“ and never was. A lot of the songs on the EP just developed from Melody telling me a story about his time in Seattle. Some of the stories, I could really relate to and immediately wanted to write about them. So the whole EP is kind of Seattle-themed. Even though I’ve never even been there…

SSG Music: In reference to the plane hijacker, do you mean D. B. Cooper?

Melody: No.

I don’t know his name and I haven’t investigated enough to find out. Even though I was in seattle by that time, not a lot of people knew about the incident. I think it wasn’t meant to be publicized too much by the media, because people would find out that it’s actually no rocket science to steal a multi-million dollar steel tube and cruise around the skies.

SSG Music: Melody, aside from planes, what other things have inspired this EP for you?

Melody: Obviously moving across the world – especially for romantic reasons – made a big impact on the songs. But not only is what I found in the PNW fuelling the lyrics, it’s also a certain recklessness that I brought back with me. Living in a huge house with some awesome folks was the best experience – we could play music any time of the day. I fucking envy people who have this possibility 24/7. Apart from that it’s definitely the past and contemporary music of the North-West, my times in the Rain City Recorders Studio is was helping out at or the week-long drives through the Canadian prairie when I was on tour.

SSG Music: Where/how did you come up with the video footage for “Traces”?

Melody: Laura is a real treasure hunter – she could probably tell you more about the in-depth process of finding that stuff, but it’s also kind of a company secret. The fact that she all did that while traveling through the states without having her laptop stolen is remarkable though.

SSG Music: What similarities do you both feel from living in a city? How does hearing stories about Seattle remind you of Berlin and vice versa?

Melody: Having lived in both cities I think you could write a whole book about the differences and similarities of the cities. The biggest difference imo is definitely the fact that the PNW has become so expensive (due to tech and film) that you’re forced to work your ass off constantly – whatever it is you’re making your money with. This also spawns artists that are very hard-working and productive. It almost feels like a race for output on all sides. Berlin gives you more space to breathe, which can also lead to becoming lazy – don’t get me wrong I know a lot of hard-working people in Berlin. I’m just talking about the environment here. 1500$ for a single appartement in the major cities of the PNW is just a different beast.

SSG Music: Do you both connect with being identified as German artists, or does that not matter so much at all?

Melody: Doesn’t matter. It’s all internet now, it’s all fluid.

SSG Music: I know this might be grandiose and escalating things beyond what you intend to do BUT, do you think this project might open up a few doors for musicians / artists to collaborate more between the the Pacific Northwest and Germany?

Melody: Apart from a couple of very good exceptions I don’t feel like collaborations are a common thing in indie-rock (as opposed to rap). But drawing attention to Berlin as a city that spawns some amazing guitar music would be cool for all of us and maybe we could learn from labels like Sub Pop, Kill Rock Stars and Father/Daughter – I don’t know about everyone else, but I find these labels and work ethics very inspiring.

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